Ah April. Spring is here and self-preservation is back in business full time. Here’s one thing that really stung to learn while I was away:
- Humans are ultimately self-serving. Each and every time, they will choose themselves over you. Deal with it.
This goes along with the “No one is obligated to help you for free” lesson. Just because you’re a nice person, doesn’t mean that anyone will do anything for you – for any reason. That “do it out of the kindness of the heart” thing is false. There is some kind of mental, physical, financial or energetic reward for doing anything. It’s how humans are hardwired.
Let’s say that you have to move and you need help. You can ask for “free” help from all of your friends. Only those who get a mental reward from helping people in need will show up.
Yes, that’s a depressingly small number.
Let’s say you offer free pizza and drinks? You may get the same about of people. It is what it is. This is where it gets frustrating. Cuz sometimes you get the complainers… UGH
Oh it’s gets worse.
Let’s say that you know that few people are going to help and you just do it yourself or hire out the work. Job’s done and you’re moving on with your live (and all your stuff). Inevitably, there is going to be someone who pipes up and says “Oh you should have called me!”
BREATHE THROUGH IT AND IGNORE THEM.
Put on your best Southern smile and say something trite like “Oh I didn’t want to bother you!” Why? Because you knew they wouldn’t show up anyway. These are the folks that get enjoyment from simply appearing to be helpful. We all know they aren’t.
Yet, that’s not the full extent of the self-serving thing I want to talk about. It gets heartbreaking from here on out. Not sorry.
There are times where you have to drop projects, break promises and just plain flake out and drop off the face of the earth to preserve your sanity and life. I’ve done it too many times to count. Each time was necessary and painful. I was over extended in energy, funds, time and f-cks in general to be Supah Terrie. So I had to bail. This wasn’t my best choice in actions. It was the only one.
That’s right. I was on my way to mental /nervous breakdown number five (fine number seven). I wasn’t sure that I would make it back from there. So I had to bounce and hide. I’m not proud of this. I’ve lost good friends, three careers, many freelance opportunities, and money on the table.
OH MY GODS THE MONEY. (breathes in to a paper bag)
Yet, it’s what I had to do to survive. I had to be selfish with my time, energy, funds and and f-cks in general. Why? Because I know others are self-serving as well. They will take as much energy, time funds, etc for FREE as you give them. It’s less work for them because they are selfish and want my time, energy, funds and f-cks in general.
It’s how humans are! I had to remember all of this and still have to remember all of this when people disappear out of my life for whatever reasons they have. It’s *probably* not my fault. They could just be overwhelmed in life and have to bounce to survive. There are times when it’s most likely my fault. I can be a high maintenance friend when I’m overwhelmed – which was most of the time in the past forty odd years. Thank you ADHD and my sincerest apologies to my parents, siblings and long suffering husband.
Here’s the crux. This is something we have to deal with in this life. We like to trot out the maxims of “Everyone is fighting something” and “Be kind” and that’s great. Yet….
I can’t help but wonder if we all realize the extent of that fight. Do we really know how our friends are doing? OR are we relying on the false ease granted by social media. If their FB status says they are fine, they must be….. right? That last picture of that friend sure looks happy, so they must be… right?
Not always. We’re back to self-preservation. It’s far easier to fake being happy to keep people out of your business and life while you deal with putting out the fires.
So I ask you this, what mental reward would you get for checking on your friends face to face? Would having that friend in your life keep your own from getting crazy, thus fueling the cycle of self-preservation? Or are you keeping everyone you know at arm’s length because they only want to use you to help themselves? Ghosting isn’t just for dating anymore.
It’s a tough call. I don’t have all the answers.
What I do have are people in my life that see through the smiling photos and check on my face to face. I do the same for them. We help each other through the self-preservation cycles.
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